Against Using the “Happy” Down Syndrome Stereotype (No Matter What the Dawks Say)

Note: According to my research, “Down syndrome” is preferable to “Down’s Syndrome”. Also, all credit goes to my friend and her friend who is my new friend who came up with the Ylvis/Dawkins joke yesterday.

There has been a lot of conversation around a certain prominent atheist announcing, in a poor and nuance-lacking imitation of Peter Singer, that he believes it immoral to not abort a fetus with Down Syndrome. Although many of the non- and anti-religious types who differed with him on the matter are pro-choice, we took issue with the notion that not aborting was somehow morally inferior to aborting.

Dawkins responded in his usual fashion by claiming it was the fault of the medium rather than his message, yet somehow, also as per usual, making the situation worse by adding in more words. It is eugenics no matter how much he denies it, and why deny it when he’s already come out in favor of eugenics, anyway? Eugenic practices hardly have to be associated with Hitler to be considered bad when it was we Americans who inspired the Nazis to use societal notions of inferiority and superiority to coerce people into reproducing or not reproducing.

What would a “What the Dawks Say?” incident be without a little splash damage?

Continue reading “Against Using the “Happy” Down Syndrome Stereotype (No Matter What the Dawks Say)”

Against Using the “Happy” Down Syndrome Stereotype (No Matter What the Dawks Say)

Experiment: How Long Does It Take a Privileged Woman to Get an Abortion?

Recently, it came to my attention that some people still believe that mandated 24+-hour waiting periods for abortions are necessary in order to prevent pregnant women from instantly deciding, without a thought, to abort, only to regret it later.

Imagine a woman finding out she is pregnant and before giving it any thought whatsoever she runs out and gets an abortion. What if she regrets it, and then has to deal with that emotional stress the rest of her life? [redacted reference to extreme self-harm]

Guy Who Was Just Asking Questions

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Experiment: How Long Does It Take a Privileged Woman to Get an Abortion?

Women in Secularism: Interview with Lindsay Beyerstein

Lindsay Beyerstein
Photo Credit: Loren Beyerstein

Women in Secularism 3 is coming up this May. The speakers list includes many admirable, accomplished women with whom I am humbled to be billed (including our very own Amy and Debbie). One of them is Lindsay Beyerstein, an accomplished journalist and all-around interesting person, as I found out last Skepticon.

Without further ado, I present her comments on journalism, photography, conferences, and more.

Continue reading “Women in Secularism: Interview with Lindsay Beyerstein”

Women in Secularism: Interview with Lindsay Beyerstein

Virginia Republican Makes Excellent Pro-Choice Argument

The other week, Senator Steve Martin (R – Virginia) received a generic pro-choice Valentine’s Day greeting from the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition. While being offended and taking action due to that offense is widely reviled among conservatives as a dirty liberal trait, the Senator decided to take to Facebook and express his disgust.

Since the English option doesn't work, I used French, the most liberal of languages.
Since the English option doesn’t work, I used French, the most liberal of languages.

I don’t expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive. However, once a child does exist in your womb, I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn’t want it to remain alive.

Martin later changed the wording to read “the bearer of the child,” but the damage was done, of course. He also failed to correct his post to reflect his voting record, which strongly suggests that he is indeed invested in preventing access to contraception.

I, for one, am happy that Martin used that term. As he expressed in his Facebook post that he is “not actually sure what that [the word ‘unintentional’] means”, I will assume that he has issues looking up terms. Taking into account that he also has trouble with with facts (he thought Planned Parenthood and the KKK were both created by the Democratic Party), I will happily cite some definitions for the word “host” for him.

As Martin is a Baptist rather than a Catholic, I believe it is safe for me to set aside the ecclesiastical definition of “host” (as well as the computer-related and secondary biological ones) and stick to these four.

  1. A person who receives or entertains a guest, particularly into the host’s home.
    This definition would imply that abortion rights are well within Republican policies on home defense and stand your ground. One might argue that aborting a fetus causes less pain and harm overall than allowing the fetus to develop into a person then shooting them to death.
  2. A person or organization responsible for running an event.
    Generally speaking, running an event, especially a private one, gives a person or organization full rights over who is in attendance. Republicans are known for supporting the rights of private organizations to be as exclusive as they wish.
  3. A moderator or master of ceremonies for a performance.
    As a veteran of many a well- and poorly-moderated panel and events emceed by individuals of similarly-varying quality, I can tell you that a good mod or MC cannot be afraid to kick out the more unwanted types.

    Choose life!
    Choose life!

  4. A cell or organism which harbors another organism or biological entity, usually a parasite.
    I have never heard a Republican — or anyone, for that matter — argue that any living organism ought to be made to harbor any other living organism, even if ejection of the latter from the host would cause its death.

Today, according to the New York Daily News, the pro-choice coalition plans to protest at the gallery of the Virginia State by sporting shirts reading “NOT A HOST.” If any pregnant people show up to join the group, I’d hope they would wear shirts reading “HOST BY CHOICE.”

Virginia Republican Makes Excellent Pro-Choice Argument